July 02, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has informed China that Hambantota cannot be used for military purposes, Prime Minister’s office said in a statement clarifying a recent news item.
Clarifying the PM’s speech made at the Dr. Saman Kelegama memorial conference, the Prime Minister’s office, however, said that the PM negotiated with Prime Minister Li and President Xi of China and came up with a proposal which was beneficial for both parties.
“The Sri Lanka Navy is moving its Southern Command to Hambantota. There is no need to be frightened, as the security of the port will be under the control of Sri Lanka Navy,” PM’s office said.
“Once an American has asked him, “what would you do if the Chinese troops land in Hambantota”. The Prime Minister has responded saying that there is a full army division stationed at Hambantota.”
Prime Minister’s office further highlighted that the Prime Minister never mentioned that they will not be resisting any invasion.
“Further, no Navy in the region has the capacity to land an army division in Sri Lanka,” Prime Minister’s office added.
“As far as Hambantota port is concerned it will only be a commercial port which will trigger off much needed economic development of backward districts of Hambantota and Moneragala very soon.”
Sri Lankan government says it was compelled to lease the port to China because they were unable to repay the loan taken by the previous administration to build it.
The lease of the Hambantota port gave China control of territory close to the shores of India, and that India was now apprehensive about the uses that this port may be put to.
Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, says that he never had any plans to lease the entire free port of Hambantota for 99 years to any foreign company.
Rajapaksa says that took place under the present government which was installed in power by the very Western nations that are now complaining about the Chinese presence in Hambantota.